tv NBC Nightly News NBC October 2, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
on our broadcast tonight, trouble in the air. now we've learned of a third incident, another row of seats comes loose on another american airlines flight and another emergency landing. a growing recall tonight affecting a lot of american consumers. and it's not just peanut butter they're taking off shelves. it's a l of different brands and related products. the countdown to the first big debate in the race for president. tonight, we're live inside the hall in denver as the preparations wind down, the event approaches, and our new polling numbers will debut here tonight. striking back, the television news anchorwoman who went on the air and took on a viewer's e-mail that said she was too heavy. "nightly news" begins now.
captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening, we've reported a lot on the changing airline industry, what we used to be able to count on, that we now have to pay extra for, like checked bags, leg room, food and drinks about still, we've always been able to count on the fact that the seats were bolted to the floor of the aircraft. that has not been the case on american airlines recently in three separate incidents in the air. and as you might imagine, it's the kind of story and the kind of imagery that can be bad in the airline business. the investigation and inspections are underway involving american airlines. it's where we begin tonight with nbc's tom costello, he's at miami international. tom, good evening.
>> reporter: brian, good evening to you. in fact, three incidents and no more. american says that by the end of the night, it will have finished inspecting 47 planes that could potentially have this problem. and it knows what the problem is. apparently a clamp was improperly installed on the base on the leg of a row of seats. in boston today, maintenance crews were removing the seats from several american 757s to make more leg room after seats on two other planes came loose from the track on mid flight, first on a trip from vail to dallas last week. mechanics thought they fixed it, then on saturday it happened again on the same plane flying from boston to miami. the pilot declared an emergency and diverted to new york. >> the seat is loose, we don't want that thing flying around and hurting the passengers behind them. >> reporter: then monday it happened on another 757 flying from new york to miami. >> rows 14 a, b and c are totally disconnected. >> reporter: disconnected from the track that holds them down. the passengers suddenly found
themselves in the laps of the people behind them. frank radice was on board. >> when the plane took off, t weight of the people and gravity pushed them back, and the seats actually went back into people that were sitting behind them. >> that will come rocking and rolling. >> reporter: this all started when mechanics began moving seats in some 757s. sources close to the investigation say some of the work had been outsourced to a private contractor, then rechecked by airline mechanics. now american says it found a clamp that attaches the seats to the floor was improperly installed. >> somehow it didn't get properly locked back down. mechanical failure, human error, we're trying to determine what that root cause is. and where was it introduced. >> reporter: all of it creating a pr nightmare for bankrupt american airlines. still struggling with dismalon time performance numbers. >> i'm concerned about it, because i actually have travel booked for the next two months through american. >> reporter: if you're holding a ticket on american, chances are it's nonrefundable. >> your best bet, get to the airport early, have their 800
reservation on speed dial, and just be ready with a lot of patience. >> reporter: one more note about emergency landings, there are a dozen or so systemwide every day. most of them are just a precaution, and really, only the most unusual ever make the news. >> tom costello starting us off tonight, thanks. just over 24 hours from now, millions of americans will tune in to a stage with two lecterns set on it in denver, colorado. two men with 50 debates worth of combined debating experience will debate each other for the first time and for very high stakes. this is the first of this season's big league presidential debate. this one on domestic matters and the economy. it's already been a long race. voting is underway already in 34 states, and the polling numbers are still on the move. as you'll see in just a moment. first, we want to begin with peter alexander in denver where they're getting ready for the big moment tomorrow night.
peter, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening to you. when president obama and mitt romney step on the stage behind me tomorrow night, it's going to be the first time they've seen each other face to face in nearly five years. to give you a sense of just how crucial his performance is, romney aides brought podiums into his hotel conference room late today to help him simulate the real thing. fueling up for an afternoon study session today. >> governor, are you ready for tomorrow? >> i'm getting there. >> reporter: mitt romney, who has been for weeks practicing zingers to sharply critique the president, may have gotten help from an unlikely ally. vice president joe biden today. >> how they can justify raising taxes on the middle class has been buried the last four years. how in lord's name can they justify raising their taxes? >> reporter: the romney campaign
quickly seized on that comment. arguing the president's policies have hurt the middle class. taking a breather from his preparations outside las vegas today. he visited the hoover dam. >> it's spectacular and i've never seen it before. >> reporter: aides say he's been calling his family to unwind each night. while the two campaigns have gone out of their way to lower expectations, surrogates on both sides today acknowledge the debate will be a pivotal moment. >> i think it's important for viewers to get a chance to do comparison shopping. seeing the two candidates face to face, head to head. >> this cannot be about decibels. what it does have to be about, particularly for governor romney, is details. >> reporter: romney who has 23 primary debates under his belt, says he doesn't like formal debate prep, says it feels too artificial. instead, opting for more casual sessions. advisers are coaching romney not to get visibly irritated, if his opponent getting under his skin. something rob portman has been able to do in practice sessions.
with five mock debates under his belt, the president rehearsing opposite john kerry. he's rehearsing keeping his answers tight. aides encouraging him to not overdue it. melissa wade is an expert on presidential debates and the head debate coach at emery university. >> they're trying to get the candidates to say the central message in as simple a form as possible with as much empathy as possible. >> reporter: one more note. both men will be joined by their wives tomorrow. ann romney says during past debates, her husband routinely looked over at her for reassurance. meanwhile, tomorrow is the obama's 20th wedding anniversary. mrs. obama recently joked she would like her husband to write love you, on his hand so she and 50 million or so others can see it when he waives. >> it all begins in just over 24 hours from now. peter alexander in the venue. thanks. our political director chuck todd is also part of our team in denver, tonight debuting our
pre-debate polling numbers. chuck, how interesting that 34 states are voting, but this race is still on the move, and either a gaffe or a big moment at one of these debates could change the numbers further. >> reporter: look, it's absolutely true. and let's look at our new poll. there are two numbers that matter more when judging whether a president wins re-election or not. it's his job approval rating and where people see the direction of the country. for the president right now, his job approval rating is at 49%. disapproval at 48. our pollsters tell us that 49 is in the re-elect zone. now, look at this, direction of the country. 40% say we're on the right track. it's not a great number, but it's the highest number we've recorded in three and a half years. let's move to the head-to-head with mitt romney. this is where the race has tightened a bit. the president's number is steady at 49. mitt romney has picked up a couple in the last couple weeks, sits at 46. what's helping him? republican voters more enthusiastic, they make it through the likely voter screen.
it's been a couple tough weeks for mitt romney. that 47% mark has left a mark, if you will. when we asked, is there anything you've heard in the last few weeks that made you more favorable or less favorable on mitt romney, 54% say what they've heard has made them less favorable. that said, the president has a couple things not going for him on the issue of libya and egypt. more people disapprove of how he's handled the situation than approve. but the overarching theme here, brian, and why is the president in a commanding small lead? 57% tell us the economy is in recovery. highest number we've recorded on that question. >> chuck todd already in denver, part of our team on the ground there. and he'll be part of our on air nbc news team tomorrow evening for our live coverage. that begins 9:00 p.m. eastern time. that's when we come on the air. 6:00 pacific here on this nbc station. also tonight a big court ruling for voters in one of the states that passed a law requiring identification at the polls on election day.
in pennsylvania, the tough new law is now on hold after a judge said it cannot be enforced on election day, which, of course, is just 35 days away now. more on this story from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> for months, voters have struggled to meet pennsylvania's strict new requirement for a government issued photo i.d. at the polls. a law democrats claim republicans pushed to suppress the turnout among poor and minority voters. first, voters without a driver's license would need a state issued i.d. card, because that's a secure i.d. that can be used to board planes, voters needed a birth certificate and three forms of identification to get one. >> and it took me days just to get my i.d. >> reporter: then the state relented and began issuing a new i.d., good only for voting, but kept shifting the requirements for it. >> this was a hastily drawn law designed to disrupt the vote for the presidential election.
>> reporter: today the judge concluded the gap between the photo i.d.s issued and the estimated need of those who do not yet have them will not be closed in time. so he blocked the law from fully going into effect in pennsylvania for the general election. poll workers can ask for a photo i.d., but those without one can still cast a ballot. many voters said they agreed. >> if they gave people time, like a year. but it penalizes a lot of people who don't have i.d. >> reporter: nationwide, four states now have the country's strictest photo i.d. laws in effect. seven others ask for photo i.d.s, but allow casting a ballot if the voter can provide another form of identification. five more states have passed strict voter i.d. laws that have now been blocked or put on hold now including pennsylvania. >> some democrats were concerned the voter i.d. law could make pennsylvania a closer contest than the polls currently suggest. now after today, they don't have to worry as much. >> reporter: nationwide the toughest voter i.d. laws are facing resistance in court.
more states are likely to require photo i.d.s of some kind. >> pete williams in our d.c. newsroom tonight, thanks. we mentioned this consumer story in the news tonight. a staple of american life, peanut butter has become a source of worry because of a recall that's big and getting bigger, now including different brand names and all kinds of other products like cookies, crackers and sauces. our report tonight from chris jansing. >> reporter: americans love peanut butter, every one of us eats on average six pounds of peanut butter a year. but a recall caused by salmonella contamination is now expanding. products are coming off the shelves, touching off concerns for lunch box packing parents everywhere. >> my son probably has it at least two to three times a week. >> i'm extremely concerned when i hear about these outbreaks of salmonella. >> reporter: the problem started with a recall of trader joe's
valencia salted creamy peanut butter. now more than 100 products made on the same machines have been added to the list, including the brand names, archer farms sold at target and harry & david. no one has gotten sick from the peanut butter, the products are also being pulled by giant foods, stop and shop and newman's own. they traced the contamination back to a processing plant in new mexico run by sunland incorporated. nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our customers. as a precautionary step, we have decided to voluntarily recall our almond butter, peanut butter, and cashew butters, tahini and roasted blanced products. >> classic salmonella symptoms, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps. they usually go away anywhere from 4 to 7 days. the symptoms can be worse. >> reporter: four people have
had to be hospitalized. two thirds of these cases involved kids under ten. now, besides children, the elderly, people with compromised immune systems and pregnant women are most vulnerable to salmonella poisoning. if you have any of these recalled products throw them away or return them to the store. for a complete list, go to our website nbcnightlynews.com. brian? >> chris jansing, thanks for your reporting tonight. still ahead as we continue along the way this evening. a local television anchorwoman gets an e-mail from a viewer saying she's too heavy. then she goes on the air to take it on directly. we'll show you what happened. and later, something's missing from the lone star state these days. why texas may never really sound the same. perfect golden color. rich in fiber. my dad taught me, and i taught my son out there. morning, pa. wait... who's driving the...? ♪ 99 bushels of wheat on the farm, 99 bushels of wheat ♪ [ male announcer ] yep, there's 8 layers
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the folks joi the folks joining us tonight from lacrosse, wisconsin already know a lot about this next story. and now tonight, millions of others across america are about to find out about it. a viewer of a local station there sent an e-mail to an anchorwoman. the e-mail said she was too heavy. she didn't like it, she did something about it, she went on television and took it on directly. nbc's anne thompson picks up the story. >> i am much more than a number on a scale. >> reporter: most of jennifer livingston's viewers already know that. for a dozen years she's anchored the morning news at wkbt in lacrosse, wisconsin. today she chose to respond to a
viewer e-mail. >> i was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn't improved for many years. surely you don't consider yourself a suitable example for this community's young people, girls in particular. i leave you this note hoping you'll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle. the truth is, i am overweight. you could call me fat. and yes, even obese on a doctor's chart. but to the person who wrote me that letter, do you think i don't know that? that your cruel words are pointing out something i don't see? >> reporter: in the e-mail, she sees more than just an unhappy viewer. the mother of three daughters sees a bully. >> what really angers me about this, there are children who don't know better, who get e-mails as critical as the one i received or in many cases even worse each and every day. >> reporter: she says the internet has become a weapon, and that this behavior is
learned. if you are at home and you are talking about the fat news lady, guess what, your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat. we need to teach our kids how to be kind, not critical. >> reporter: since her comments at 6:45 this morning, the website has gotten more than 50,000 hits, almost one for every person in lacrosse. the station says local schools used the video today to talk about bullying. the website gawker is carrying it around the world. >> do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies. >> reporter: a message starting an important conversation in wisconsin and across the country. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. >> by the way, she'll be a guest on "today" tomorrow morning. and when we come back tonight, a big annual list is just out tonight. look, if you have copd like me,
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it's been going on for decades. americans have been moving from the north to the south. it turns out all those relative newcomers to a place like texas means a lot of the folks living in texas don't sound much like texans. our report tonight from chicago-born, houston-area resident and nbc news correspondent janet shamlian. >> hi, y'all. >> listen to this. >> thank you all so much. >> reporter: the trademark twang. from friday night lights to just about every movie made in or around texas. even in the oval office. >> i got up before daylight this morning, i got up at 5:30. >> reporter: the distinctive sound is getting harder to here. newcomers move into the big city and drown out that old draw. >> you can find it much more easily when you go to rural parts of texas, it's still there. but it's not as generally used in the city like austin.
>> reporter: at the university of texas, they're studying the slow demise of this slice of southern identity, comparing dialect and recordings made almost 30 years apart. >> i like growing up in the country. when my chores were done, i would ride my horse, climb trees or fish or swing. >> you bear down on them r's a little bit, drop your g's and just slow down and talk to where people can understand you. >> reporter: the 82-year-old taught old hollywood to talk texan. >> sometimes i lean to one side of it, sometimes i lean to the other. >> reporter: paul newman and james dean spent weeks perfecting the twang. >> i'm not complaining. >> reporter: patricia neal even thanked him when she won the 1963 oscar for best actress. >> i think the twang is getting lost a little bit. >> reporter: now, even at iconic locals like the boot shop or the bbq joint the accent could be